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VIDEO: Lady Gaga, paparazzi and cash favored at Construction Couture fashion show

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news Alexandria, 56308

Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549

Fashion fans were rocked and shocked at the second annual Construction Couture runway show in Alexandria on Thursday. It started like something out of Oz and ended with everybody awed.


Dorothy, the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow were there. Big Ole and Elvis starred as well. But it was the final performance that really popped. Performance? Wait, isn't this a fashion show? A fashion show like no other.

Vikingland Builders Association (VBA) borrowed an idea for a style show with fashions fashioned out of construction materials, partnered with Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC) and debuted Construction Couture in 2012. In 2013, students' duds were bigger and bolder.

Lady Gaga Megalicious, also known as Meg Shafer, was the final model to take the stage. She prowled her way down the runway and took both the "People's Choice" and "Showstopper" awards.

Judges award Showstopper to the most innovative or creative design. This year, judges were Lynndene Way, Julie Critz and Coni McKay. Way and McKay also judged the premier event.

"Most Wearable" exudes top form and function and "Raw Factor" is awarded for the best use of raw building materials. Most Wearable went to Construction Couture veteran Shannon Dickey for her costume, "Priceless," made from paper money, coins and aluminum discs accessorized with an umbrella and rain boots.

Dickey and four other models, Marissa Kemen, Emily Hauser, Taylor Swenson and Vickie Melby-Clear, participated in the show last year.

What did models learn from last year? "To be more out there," said Hauser. She and Swenson tag teamed the runway as a "Divine Angel" and "Wicked Angel" with Victoria's Secret inspired wings. The dynamic was so jarring, a fuse blew and the music stopped. Ole (Matt Arkfeld) in all his glory also jammed the signal. VBA Executive Director Sandy Argetsinger said the electrical snafu will be avoided next year.

Emily Doege earned "Raw Factor" with her "Party Paparazzi" design made from duct tape, nails and a magazine page skirt. Shafer's Gaga creation combined hinges, Tyvek, window screen, foam tubing, safety glasses, metal strapping tape and handles - not a far stretch from Gaga's usual garb.

This year, in addition to bragging rights, award winners were also presented with $25 gas cards, courtesy of Mike's Car Wash. Another new element in 2013 was including Jefferson High School students (Peyton Thesing, Bailee Atchison, Christian Reimers and Spencer Vogel) as spotlight techs. The venue was moved from Broadway Ballroom to the Holiday Inn, which allowed for a longer runway and dressing rooms.

"Last year the models almost literally had to get ready in a closet," Argetsinger said. "Everyone loved the new layout, the stage, the food; it's just awesome."

Argetsinger said extra credit goes to ATCC student advisor Kris Daby and music by Wolfgang Gerdes, whom without, the show would not have gone on so seamlessly.

"The students really thought outside the box and got creative. They had fun," Argetsinger said. "Each year is going to get bigger and better."


Event benefactor Habitat for Humanity Douglas County (HFHDC) held a silent auction coinciding with Construction Couture. The organization raised $1,200, a total slightly lower than last year.

"We are so thankful to the Vikingland Builders Association for including us in this unique event and for the businesses and individuals throughout the community who donated items to make this auction possible," said Kelli Wendel, HFHDC development director. "We are truly blessed to have such tremendous community partners who are committed to strengthening families and building up our community."

DeyCrystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.